Sunday, January 31, 2016

Animanga: One-Punch Man

It's been awhile since I've read a manga that has such a great blend of humor and action as One-Punch Man.

The original series began as a webcomic in 2009 by a man mysteriously known as One. The remake is illustrated by Yusuke Murata and written by the same One. That is the version I've been following.

One-Punch Man is an action packed manga, full of bizarre villains and heroes. The main protagonist is a man named Saitama, who is as unremarkable as they come. He has an average look, build and even a laid back disposition. What makes Saitama unique is his strength and love for mankind... especially his home town Z-City.

Ever since Saitama was a child he wanted to be a super hero. After numerous encounters with criminals he finally decided to take action and train his body to perfection. Through basic calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups and running) for three consecutive months, Saitama was able achieve incredible power. He acquired enough raw strength to destroy almost every enemy he faced with one punch.

In his world the cities are given names from the alphabet (City A, B, C, ect....Z) and are often attacked by monsters. These monsters are called "Mysterious Beings," and range from normal humans to hybrid (beast) humans to intergalactic conquerors. Each attack against an alphabet city by one of these is given a threat level. Those levels range from "Wolf" which is a human level threat, to "God" which is an extinction level event. No one knows where the Mysterious Beings come from but they all seem to have an instinctive hatred for humans.

To handle threats against mankind a group of powerful individuals began the Heroes Association. This association employs citizens as heroes and provided them pay and services for protecting the alphabet cities. The hero classes range from "C" (ordinary human) to "S" (superhuman) and all officially recognized heroes are part of the Heroes Association.

Saitama joins the as the lowest ranked C-Class hero and works his way up through the ranking. Along the way he gains a disciple named Genos (The Demon Cyborg) who is impressed by his strength. Genos is on his own quest for vengeance and tries to learn the secret of Saitama' power. Ironically Genos is given the ranking of S-Class based off some of the monsters Saitama defeated. He is also one of the few individuals in the Heroes Association who knows how strong Saitama really is.

The manga was recently turned into a 12 episode anime that ended in December 2015. The anime was taken directly from canon material and featured superb artwork and battle scenes. The great thing about this series is that it's a parody of the whole super hero genre. In the video below Saitama shows up to stop a meteor from destroying all life on Earth. Check out the anime and check out the manga....if you like what you see. Don't forget to purchase official copies from the Mangaka, cuz those guys work long hours for little pay or appreciation.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Love Hip-Hop (Live)

Happy (belated) New Year!

I know it's a bit late, but as the old saying goes..."better late than never." The new year has been positive for the business and I appreciate all the new opportunities.

Over the last few weeks the song "Love Hip-Hop," has been played on a variety of radio stations in Europe and the U.S.. There's Fun X, Radio 010FM, 1-Xtra, and WTCR - Chicago just to name a few. In between the radio promotion I've been writing new songs and organizing tracks for the Underground Artist Major Threat album.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to perform at the Radio 010FM studios in Hoogvliet. I was invited to perform "Love Hip-Hop" and "Four Walls" live. This was the only radio station I've been in that was on the ground floor. All the rest were on the top floor of the building where I either had to take an elevator to reach the station, or walk up a lot of stairs. Inside the station they had interview rooms and a sound stage for musicians.

The performance was for "De Winkelwagenshow" hosted by Peter Kunnen. "De Winkelwagenshow" translates into "The Shopping Basket Show" in English. Similar to its title, the show is an eclectic mix of different styles of music.  Peter has been hosting the program for almost 25 years (he's a cool guy) and has played everything from rock, pop, hip-hop, to jazz, blues and country. While I was doing the sound check for my performance, two acoustic guitar players arrived. Later I found out they were folk music singers and were there to perform after me.

The show went smooth. I performed for a small intimate crowd of people who worked for the radio station, were waiting to perform, or were guests. Check out the video below... if you would like to see the show. Also, there's new music, artwork, and videos, coming in the next few months. So check back often for updates.